#Review: Story Of The Year – Wolves


   

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Story Of The Year first captivated my attention with their debut album, Page Avenue, back in 2003. Since then the band have had a string of albums, been involved in a whole host of side-projects, taken a hiatus, reformed and run a successful PledgeMusic campaign, which all lead to this, their sixth studio album, Wolves.

SOTY - Wolves.jpg

The album opens with the title track, ‘Wolves’, which sounds like some sort of background, cinematic sound effects from a horror film, before leading into the intense, fast-paced, gang-vocal-packed song, ‘How Can We Go On’, which perfectly represents the band’s roots in alternative/hard rock. From there, the album weaves its way brilliantly throughout a whole range of powerful, thrashing, metal-like songs and emotionally-driven, rock ballads that you just can’t help but want to belt out loud.

One thing’s for certain; the band have truly poured out their honest feelings and inner-most emotions into every track on this record. It’s also the band’s first album to be recorded in pieces, across several, separate locations, meaning they could really afford to take their time to focus and perfect the sound they wanted to achieve. The album title, Wolves, was chosen to embody the concept of life circling you and closing in on you, just like a pack of wolves.

Some of my favourite and most stand-out tracks on the album have to be, ‘Bang Bang’ (dubbed “a fast-paced, electro-infused rager complete with a catchy chorus” by AltPress), ‘Youth’ (which is a short guitar track that feels anthemic beyond words), ‘I Swear, I’m Okay’ (a synth-driven ballad-esque belter), ‘Can Anybody Hear Me’ (probably one of the catchiest tracks on the record and a real sing-along tune) and ‘Like Ghosts’ (which is just epic and in places the use of synths remind me a little of the Stranger Things theme – this song was born to be in a movie).

Undoubtedly, the quartet have demonstrated how committed they are to making what could well be the best album since their debut.

The record was produced by Aaron Sprinkle (Anberlin, New Found Glory, Acceptance) and mixed by none other than Tom Lord-Alge and J Hall – which probably explains why it sounds particularly epic! It soars to incredible heights and tantalises the melancholic heart-strings in all the right places.

Undoubtedly, the quartet have demonstrated how committed they are to making what could well be the best album since their debut. It’s an inspired body of work that shows off a real depth to their songwriting and evolution in their style. They have managed to record a soundscape of vulnerability, fear and anxiety and present it in a really exhilarating and cohesive body of music. This is certainly an album not to be missed.

Rating
4


‘Wolves’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/wolves/1300989796


Wolves on Spotify

Coming tomorrow. 

‘Bang Bang’ (Official Audio)

‘I Swear, I’m Okay’ (Official Audio)


We hope you’ve enjoyed this review of Story Of The Year’s latest album! What are your thoughts about it? What would you rate it? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or chat to us about it via our social media.


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#WildCardWednesday: YONAKA – ‘Bubblegum’


   

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YONAKA are a fantastic Brighton-based band who consist of Theresa Jarvis (Vocals), George Edwards (Guitar), Alex Crosby (Bass/Keys) and Robert Mason (Drums). The band refer to themselves as ‘Dark Alt Pop with heavy riffs’ and I couldn’t agree more; their latest track, ‘Bubblegum’ fuses electro-pop vibes with grungy guitars and it’s all topped off with Theresa‘s vocals (which I find have similarities to Charli XCX).

The video has just been released and it really depicts just what YONAKA are all about – it’s visually intriguing and oddly artistic; what more can you expect from a Brighton-grown band eh?!

You must check out this wonderful song and accompanying video – it’s well worth it!

What are your thoughts of this up-and-coming band? Have you got a #WildCardWednesday track to recommend us? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or chat to us about it via social media, using the #WildCardWednesday hashtag.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘Bubblegum’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/bubblegum/1289319076?i=1289319088


#Review: Maroon 5 – ‘Red Pill Blues’


   

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Maroon 5 are one of the biggest bands on the planet and in my eyes they just go from strength to strength. Each album manages to change just enough to move with the current trends in music yet somehow they still manage to maintain their unique identify. This album is a far cry from their debut, Songs About Jane, but it’s still somehow classic Maroon 5.

Red Pill Blues (Deluxe)

The tone for Red Pill Blues is set by the opening track, ‘Best 4 U’, which has a very 80s feel to it with it’s synths and spacey atmosphere, yet somehow it’s still very current.

There’s no mistaking it, this album is less in-your-face about it’s pop nature than some of their previous releases but it’s an incredibly well-crafted record. It is filled with sensual tracks like ‘Lips On You’ (which for some reason really evokes vibes of Phil Collins for me), ‘Wait’, which has a sublime groove to it, married with Adam’s sensational falsetto vocals that just ascend with perfection and then there’s the 11-minute epic track, ‘Closure’, which sees the band break into an extended jam, to close the album. The rather understated, ‘Who I Am’ (featuring LunchMoney Lewis) has a somewhat similar feel to some of the tracks on the band’s debut album while ‘Girls Like You’ is a very catchy song with it’s gang vocals and intense use of acoustic guitar strumming. That’s without even mentioning the massive single, ‘What Lovers Do’, which is just epic!

Not like anything you’ve heard from them before – it’s a sensational, modern-pop record!

Then there’s the deluxe version of the album which contains bonus tracks such as singles ‘Don’t Wanna Know’ and ‘Cold‘ as well as the unreleased tracks ‘Denim Jacket’‘Visions’ and ‘Plastic Rose’ – if you’re a hardcore fan of the band, then you’re definitely going to want this version! ‘Denim Jacket’ has a gospel feel to it, ‘Visions’ is very reggae in its groove, whilst ‘Plastic Rose’ is very current with a deep house tone to it.

It has a very modern pop record and whilst on some tracks you forget they’re actually a full band, others make up for it with their funky bass sounds, soulful guitar licks or acoustic guitar rhythms. The use of different producers hasn’t detracted from it being an eclectic yet comprehensive record.

I would say that this album has a rather mellow and modest feel to it throughout but it’s still a sensational, modern-pop record! You should most definitely check it out – it’s not like anything you’ve heard from them before.

Rating
4


‘Red Pill Blues’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/red-pill-blues-deluxe/id1292455301


Red Pill Blues on Spotify

 ‘What Lovers Do’ featuring SZA (Official Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review of Maroon 5’s latest album! What are your thoughts of this latest release? Are you as much of a fan as us? What would you rate it? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or talk to us about it via our social media.


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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#MuzikSpeaks: An Interview with James Walsh from Starsailor


   

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When Starsailor visited Brighton’s Concorde 2 on their All This Life Tour, I had the great privilege of chatting to James Walsh, backstage, before the show (check out our review).

We chatted all about the inspirations behind the band’s latest album, All This Life, who he’d most like to collaborate with and discussed the weirdest question he’s ever been asked. It’s all here…



Starsailor‘s releases are all available:


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#Review: Prides – A Mind Like The Tide, Pt. 1 (EP)


   

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Prides are a Scottish indie band who originally formed in Glasgow, in 2014, as a three-piece. The act is now comprised of Stewart Brock (lead vocals and keys) and Callum Wiseman (guitar, keys and backing vocals). Since releasing their debut album, The Way Back Up, in July 2015, the pair have worked hard on creating their next release; a two-part album, starting with this, the first half, A Mind Like The Tide – Pt. 1.

A Mind Like The Tide, Pt. 1

The EP opens with ‘Every Story Of Mine Is A Story Of Yours…’ – led by an ethereal synth, the track builds beautifully to a quite cinematic climax comprised of chest-rumbling bass notes, Stewart’s trademark crooning and a collection of people speaking the title of the track, repeatedly. This is surely going to become the song which opens the set for the pair’s live performances, for the foreseeable future and it’s easy to see why…it’s just oozing with atmosphere!

Overall, this EP is an eclectic mix of songs, from the unashamedly feel-good pop qualities of lead single ‘Let’s Stay In Bed All Day’ to the slightly more chaotic and almost grungy moments found in ‘Sweet Time’. I particularly love the energy and catchiness of ‘You’re The Drug’ (which could easily be another single), whilst both ‘A Wilder Heart’ and ‘I Know That I Can Change’ are emotionally charged and ascend to euphoric climaxes. My only criticism of the EP is the fact that ‘I Don’t Ever Want To Live Without You’ feels a little like an interlude (though it’s still a track which remains true to the essence of the band). That, paired with the opening track being more of an intro, you’ve essentially got 5 brilliant, new, sing-a-long tracks. It’s still a great release though and I’m certainly left intrigued to hear the second part of the album, around March next year.

The quality of the production throughout is remarkable and it’s a really comprehensive collection of tracks. Towards the end of ‘You’re The Drug’ there is an incredible break in the beat and just when you think it’s going to drop back in (as is predictable in so many songs), it doesn’t…it keeps you waiting and I love the originality of this! The calming, break in ‘Sweet Time’ is bewitching and melodic with it’s acoustic guitar, synths and falsetto vocals, right before it kicks back in to the heavy guitars and punchy chorus. Lastly, the delicate way ‘I Know That I Can Change’ begins with it’s atmospheric sounds and gradually becomes a massive stadium-filling anthem – it is just the perfect way to close the EP.

This is undoubtedly a brilliant release from the pair and certainly doesn’t disappoint. It may have been a couple of years since their debut album but it’s clear they have spent time working on their songwriting and developing their style. It’s also nice to see that despite a string of stand-alone singles, they haven’t just piled them onto this EP, to pad it out. It’s a beautiful release, crafted with major love and fine attention to detail.

Rating
4


‘A Mind Like The Tide, Pt. 1’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/a-mind-like-the-tide-pt-1/id1295669547


‘A Mind Like The Tide, Pt. 1’ on Spotify

Let’s Stay In Bed All Day (Official Audio Video)


Hopefully you have enjoyed our review of Prides‘ latest EP release! What are your personal thoughts of the EP? What would you rate it? Please leave your thoughts in a comment below or via our social media and don’t forget to share this think. Thanks 😀


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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#EventSpeaks: Will Joseph Cook @ The Haunt, Brighton – 17/10/17


   

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On Tuesday 17th October 2017, Will Joseph Cook, came to Brighton to perform a set in support of his debut album, Sweet Dreamer, as well as play a couple of new songs from his upcoming EP. He was supported by Indigo Husk at the popular Brighton venue, The Haunt.


Indigo Husk

The band took to the stage with their grungy, give-a-damn appearance and although the crowd seemed a bit reticent to begin with, after a couple of songs, they had been worked up a treat, with the band’s funky brand of grunge-pop. The lead singer’s occasional ‘whoops’ and sarcastic quips were amusing, whilst the drummer was possibly one of the most engaging band members I’ve ever seen – he was witty, enthusiastic, provided great backing vocals and oozed personality through his crowd interaction. Sadly the same can’t quite be said for the bassist, who barely cracked a smile throughout and the concentration on Flynn’s face looked almost uncomfortable for him, at times. That’s not to say it was a bad performance or that they’re not a good band; it makes them who they are and they were certainly fun to watch.

Highlight:

The drummer – he was captivating and I particularly enjoyed the moments he stood up whilst drumming, taking every opportunity to interact with the audience.


Will Joseph Cook

Will Joseph Cook is a fantastic performer and his unique blend of indie vibes, electronic synths and pop hooks make for one heck of a funky, dance-infused performance.

The moment he appeared on stage, the audience burst into rapturous applause – one thing’s for sure, Will Joseph Cook has worked incredibly hard to build up a dedicated and loyal following, evidenced by the fact that the show had sold out.

His vocals were on point and his working of the stage was controlled and at times even mesmerising. I like that he is able to switch between playing the guitar and singing (which can be quite static) on some songs, whilst on others, he ditches the guitar and works the crowd – it’s great to see this diversity in his performance.

The songs he played sounded just as good as his recordings and at times, Will and the band added a nice leading intro into a song, adding something unique that you could only see and hear if you watch him live.

Not only has Will Joseph Cook produced an incredibly strong debut album (Sweet Dreamer) but his performances are remarkably captivating too. He is definitely worth watching live – make sure you catch his show next time he’s near you.

Highlights:

  • Usually I like it when there’s a lot of between-song banter from the band or artist, but Will kept this to a minimum, playing song after song, keeping the audience dancing and singing along.
  • Getting to hear a couple of his new tracks, live, was great!
  • His performances of ‘Plastic’‘Girls Like Me’ and new song, ‘If You Want To Make Money’, all really stood out to me.
  • Will and the band’s abilities to make the live renditions sound just as good as the recordings.

 📷 All of the fantastic photos in this post are credited to Elliot McRae. 📷
Go on and give him a follow – @EMcraePhoto


 Setlist

Biggest Fan
Alive
Sweet Dreamer
Treat Me Like A Lover*
Plastic*
Habit
Take Me Dancing
If You Want To Make Money*
Fish*
Daisy Chains
Beach

Encore
Message
Girls Like Me*

*These songs can be viewed in the YouTube playlist, below.


Finally, I want to say a MASSIVE thanks to Isobel Williams from Whiteboard PR for setting up this review and to Will Joseph Cook and Indigo Husk for putting on a great evening.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#Review: ROAM – Great Heights & Nosedives

 


 

   

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ROAM are a British pop punk band from Eastbourne, consisting of members Alex Costello (vocals), Alex Adam (lead guitar and backing vocals), Matt Roskilly (bass), Sam Veness (rhythm guitar) and Miles Gill (drums). The band formed in 2012 and since then have performed on the Warped Tour ’16, signed to Hopeless Records and have now just released their second album, Great Heights & Nosedives.

ROAM - Great Heights & Nosedives Cover2.png

The band’s new record opens with the hard-hitting track, ‘Alive’, and doesn’t really let up from its high-energy, bounce-inducing pop punk for the majority of the album. It is undoubtedly a good effort from the band and a strong follow-up to 2016’s debut, Backbone, however it’s not really taking any great strides to revolutionise the already saturated world of pop punk.

Sadly, ‘Curtain Call’ feels a little like it’s trying too hard to be profound but slightly missing the mark, whilst ‘Home’ is quite a letdown – it really doesn’t finish the album in as strong a way as it started, with just a quick fade out at the end, making it feel like the band weren’t sure quite how to finish the track – I really expected some long and explosive grande finale.

This is an album which is undoubtedly going to sit well within a hardcore, pop punk lover’s collection.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some really great moments on the album too, such as the banger that is ‘Alive’, thundering guitars and mosh-inducing rhythm of ‘Left For Dead’, the grungy, fast-paced ‘Open Water and the varying tempos of the somewhat funky, ‘The Rich Life Of A Poor Man’, which overall, make it quite a thrilling record, however I still feel like it’s nothing that hasn’t been done before. I find myself reminiscing some of the earlier days of New Found GloryAll Time Low and We The Kings and at points even Four Year Strong.

The album was produced by Kyle Black (who’s worked with the likes of State Champs, New Found Glory and Comeback Kid) in Los Angeles, California. This explains the authentic American sound to the record and might account for Alex Costello‘s pseudo-American accent throughout. Whilst this is synonymous with the genre, it’d be nice to hear an English-sounding pop punk band, just for a change.

This is an album which is undoubtedly going to sit well within a hardcore, pop punk lover’s collection…and it should; it’s a decent record. I just think that in order to really stand out from the masses of similar bands and achieve longevity in their career, they’re going to have to really push the boundaries of the genre on their next album; consider the likes of ParamoreFall Out BoyGood Charlotte and All Time Low.

Rating
3


‘Great Heights & Nosedives’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/great-heights-nosedives/id1270970229


Great Heights & Nosedives on Spotify

Alive (Official Video)

Playing Fiction (Official Video)


We really hope you’ve enjoyed our latest album review! What are your thoughts on ROAM’s Great Heights & Nosedives? What would you rate it? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or chat to us via our social media.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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